A Reflection on our volunteer day

On Saturday 11th May, we were delighted to have 70 people attend our volunteer day. We heard voices from the field in Uganda, we were introduced to our new campaign: our common home, we participated in inspirational workshops and then shared together in a beautiful creation celebration, consisting of a mass and group lunch.

First time in Africa – Nicole Gillespie

Nicole Gillespie sharing with CAFOD volunteers her experience in Uganda during her GAP year

Nicole Gillespie sharing with CAFOD volunteers her experience in Uganda during her GAP year

We were thrilled to hear our first speaker Nicole Gillespie talk about her experience visiting CAFOD projects in Uganda for three weeks as part of her CAFOD gap year.

Nicole is from St Vincent Centre in Whitstable and it was her very first time visiting Africa. It was a challenging visit as many things were very different and she needed to adapt to the new culture. Nicole met the local community and soon made new friends, even participating in a naming ceremony!

She saw a Ugandan ambulance, a grade 3 health centre, a tree nursery, a limestone quarry and a money box that was helping children go to school. She was so impressed with the projects that CAFOD is doing in the country, and she saw a borehole which was funded by CAFOD. She also was able to distribute friendship bracelets to Ugandan children that had been made by primary school children in the UK.

Step into the Gap is CAFOD’s exciting gap year programme. By being in either a retreat centre, university chaplaincy or school chaplaincy you can volunteer as part of a programme which works alongside the Catholic community and others to bring about a more just world. This programme includes a visit to CAFOD partners and the communities we work with overseas.

Are you aged 18-30? Why not do a Gap Year with CAFOD too? Applications for September 2019 are now open. 

Inspiring talk – Catherine Ogolla

Catherine Ogolla - Kenya and Uganda CAFOD representative inspired us with sharing the priorities for her region

Catherine Ogolla – Kenya and Uganda CAFOD representative inspired us with sharing the priorities for her region

Everyone was so excited to hear from our first international speaker Catherine Ogolla- CAFOD’s Country Representative for Uganda and Kenya. Her talk was extremely inspirational.

Catherine explained that CAFOD works as a partnership model, reaching the poorest, vulnerable and marginalised with quality and dignified programmes.

She highlighted that the priorities of the programme in Uganda and Kenya are Integrated Food Security, Governance and Advocacy and Emergency response.

Catherine then explained that HIV and AIDS are a major threat to livelihoods in Uganda and Kenya. They lead to severe labour shortage, reduced farm and non-farm economic productivity and therefore food poverty. She gave the shocking example of Homa bay in Western Kenya, where 55-72% of the population live below the poverty level, and the overall HIV prevalence is 25.7%. Food poverty and poor nutrition are the most important risks that CAFOD is tackling in Homa Bay, coupled by low levels of income.

One of the amazing projects that CAFOD is implementing to tackle these risks is the Poultry Project, employed in Homa Bay as well as Rangwe and Ndhiwa which all have low levels of development paired with high poverty levels. Chickens are technically and financially easy to breed which makes them excellent for poor rural households. They provide opportunities for savings and investment as well as tackling food poverty and poor nutrition. Amazingly, CAFODs project represents 75-85% of the total poultry production in this region.

Shared Experiences

Throughout the day we talked with one another. We also shared our experiences as volunteers and global neighbours through one of the following workshops:

  • Campaigning with CAFOD

We discovered all about our new campaign: our common home, which aims to have Britain no longer contributing to climate change by 2045, in order to avoid the hunger, migration and conflict caused by the rising global temperature. Learn more about this here.

We also discovered all about the Mass Lobby on climate change “The time is now” happening on Wednesday 26 June in Westminster. We understood how we could meet our MP on that day and make a difference to the UK target to reach zero degree emission by 2045.

  • Being a CAFOD Parish Volunteer

New CAFOD volunteers discovering how to have a global impact with a local volunteering in their own parish

New CAFOD volunteers discovering how to have a global impact with a local volunteering in their own parish

Together we discovered what it meant to be volunteering for CAFOD in a parish. We talked about how volunteering with CAFOD in our own parish helps make a global impact and eradicate poverty. Discover more here.

  • Training for Parish Volunteer Coordinators

Together we shared our experiences of volunteering for CAFOD as Parish Volunteer coordinators. If you would be interested in coordinating other volunteers to put their faith into actio nin their parish  read more here.

Rejoicing in Creation Celebration

Creation Mass to celebrate God's creation

Creation Mass to celebrate God’s creation

We were blessed to have Father Thomas from Egnlish Martyrs parish in Walworth lead our laudato si’ inspired creation celebration, consisting of a mass and shared lunch.

After the mass, East Anglian Parish Volunteer Co-ordinator Jeanette Milborn delivered a short talk, including her experience from her own Live Simply Parish, St Laurence’s in Cambridge and her trip to Poland for the Climate Change Conference in December 2018.

During the lunch we participated in a shared meal whilst discussing a list of questions to help us reflect on creation and climate change.

We reflected on how we have seen God’s love reflected in creation, seeing the environment as God’s gift to everyone, how we can make daily consumption choices that impact positively on our planet and how we can use our voice in the UK to speak our against climate change.

“The climate is a common good,” Pope Francis writes, “belonging to all and meant for all.” And yet the earth, our sister, “cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.”

Find out more about our campaign Our Common Home now

Thank you to everyone who attended to volunteer day on Saturday- it was wonderful to see you.

Did you miss this volunteer day? There will be more in the future so remember to keep updated by following our blog, twitter or facebook to hear about future events.

More about Climate Change Campaign

Engage with these materials on climate change and learn how to get involved.

Petition your MP

Take action by implementing these simple steps

Educate yourself and your peers with our facts and figures

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